Suit­ing up at Mana Col­lege


‘‘We wanted to put [se­niors] in uni­form to show their lead­er­ship.’’

Se­niors at a low decile Porirua school are suit­ing up and look­ing sharp.

Thanks to fund­ing from its alumni and friendly pric­ing from its uni­form provider, Mana Col­lege’s se­nior stu­dents have stepped out in new threads fea­tur­ing a sharp black pin­stripe blazer, tie, and grey trousers.

It’s a fit­ting move for the decile 2 col­lege and will be phased into the rest of the school’s 370 stu­dents by 2020.

The col­lege is straight­en­ing up un­der new lead­er­ship af­ter a statu­tory man­ager took con­trol in 2015 to ad­dress a plum­met­ing roll, poor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, and a lack of di­rec­tion among staff and stu­dents.

Prin­ci­pal John Murdoch ar­rived last year from Taita Col­lege in Lower Hutt, where NCEA pass rates more than dou­bled dur­ing his six-year ten­ure.

‘‘When I ar­rived in term two, the uni­form needed to be im­proved. The [Year 13s] didn’t wear one.

‘‘I thought it didn’t rep­re­sent the high ex­pec­ta­tion we have for stu­dents.

‘‘We wanted to put [se­niors] in uni­form to show their lead­er­ship.’’

All Black TJ Per­e­nara, en­ter­tainer Gary McCormick, and golfer Michael Camp­bell are among the 30,000 stu­dents that have walked the halls since the col­lege started in 1957.

Murdoch said the school needs to re­mem­ber: ‘‘This is Mana Col­lege. We’re stand­ing on the shoul­ders of giants.’’

‘‘The name Mana was gifted by kau­matua from Ngati Toa. It’s a pres­ti­gious name.’’

The blaz­ers will be passed on to the next year ‘‘and we’re hop­ing they’ll last two or three years’’.

To avoid lump­ing par­ents with a big mid-year cloth­ing bill, the school reached out to its alumni to pro­vide fund­ing. One group con­trib­uted $1000 to hon­our the mem­o­ries of past stu­dents.

Uni­form provider SAS Sports set the prices at near-cost. A $220 blazer, for ex­am­ple, sells for about $100.

Year 13 stu­dent Jack­son Tume said the public - and par­ents - loved the new look.

‘‘Mum and dad think, when I’m leav­ing the house, it’s like I’m go­ing to work.’’


Mana Col­lege stu­dents, clock­wise from left, Ruby Pierre, Te Mauri Pouwhare, Jack­son Tume, Francis Nguyen-Ly and Jah­ni­vah Vega-Ihe in their new uni­forms.

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